Monday, February 21, 2011

The True Man

By Edgar Guest

“This is the sort of a man was he:
True when it hurt him a lot to be;
Tight in a corner an' knowin' a lie
'Would have helped him out, but he wouldn't buy
His freedom there in so cheap a way
He told the truth though he had to pay.
Honest! Not in the easy sense,
When he needn't worry about expense

We'll all play square when it doesn't count
And the sum at stake's not a large amount
But he was square when the times were bad,
And keepin' his word took all he had.
Honor is something we all profess,
But most of us cheat --- some more, some less
And the real test isn't the way we do
When there isn't a pinch in either shoe;

It's whether we're true to our best or not
When the right thing's certain to hurt a lot.
That is the sort of a man was he:
Straight when it hurt him a lot to be;
Times when a lie would have paid him well,
No matter the cost, the truth he'd tell;
An' he'd rather go down to a drab defeat
Than save himself if he had to cheat.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Basis of Betrothal

I know many of those who hear of my “betrothal” wonder: “What does he mean by “courting” and “betrothal.” The most important institutions ordained by God are the most attacked institutions by the devil. As a result, there is a lot of confusion about just what the appropriate process is that leads to marriage.

Like anything else in the Christian life, the Bible is the final authority for faith and practice. Many Christians think that there is no real instruction on this issue in the Bible, leaving it to their best guess or how they were raised to determine how it should be done. Even worse, some simply allow their kids to follow their flesh, dating around and doing nothing different from the world.

On this issue, however, there are 2 clear examples in scripture. In Ephesians 5, the word of God compares a Godly relationship between man and wife to the beautiful relationship that Christ has with his church. A man is instructed to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. A wife is instructed to submit herself unto her husband as the head of the home, just as the church is to be submitted to Christ as the head of the church. In Genesis 24, a relationship between Isaac and Rebekah blossomed, based on faith in God and not sight or on fleshly desires. Using Christ and the church, and Isaac and Rebekah as examples, let’s look at a few key principles about betrothal.

Very clearly, it starts with sacrifice on the part of a man. Before Christ could betroth his church, he first gave his life for it in his death on the cross. He “purchased” his church, in a sense, with his sacrifice for it. A young man who has not demonstrated sacrifice in seeking God’s will for a wife has not yet demonstrated the first and possibly most necessary step for preparation for marriage. If a young man cannot sacrifice before marriage, you  might as well not expect him to after marriage. Betrothal starts with the principle of sacrifice.

Essential to the process, as well, is the response of the young lady. Just as Christ will not force anyone to accept his Salvation and be part of his church, no young lady should be forced to go anywhere she doesn’t want to go. In some cultures, their women have no choice and are practically treated like property. This is not a principle found in scripture. Rebekah, when discussing the idea of going to be with Isaac in Genesis 24, was asked personally whether she would go. “Enquire at her mouth…” were the words of Abraham’s servant. Similarly, we are the decision makers when deciding whether or not to accept the invitation of Christ to be his bride. Using this guide, a young lady should decide whether or not to “go” with a young man.

Living each day from the time we are “betrothed” to Christ till the marriage in heaven, God desires for us to draw close to Christ, knowing him better and better, learning how to be his and please him. In this process, Christ also draws close to us, and desires that we live a life that is pleasing to him so that we can be close to our Saviour. This is mirrored by a young man and woman drawing close to one another, and getting to know each other better following their betrothal as it leads to them getting married.

Young people confuse this step more than any other. They begin the process of getting to know one another as a determinate stage that helps them decide whether or not this young person is the one who they should marry. This is unscriptural. I am not trying to say that, in the real world of wickedness, that there are not some exceptions where a young person should withdraw from a courting relationship. But as a general rule, the praying about this relationship should have already occurred prior to courtship.

During the betrothal process, it is important to note that there is no physical contact between the two individuals. While this is very unpopular even in Christian circles, it is clear in I Corinthians 7 that the only exception to a no-touch policy between men and women is marriage. The first time the 2 should touch should be at the wedding. Another important thing to note: prior to the betrothal relationship, there shouldn’t be any “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationships. This is especially unpopular in modern society, but it is the truth, nonetheless. For one thing, it teaches young people that it is “ok” to maintain a laid-back attitude concerning relationships, and boyfriend/girlfriend games only teach lack of commitment. If a young person gets married who has played these boyfriend/girlfriend games, this person has to forget everything they did during their teen years and relearn how relationships work. If they don’t, it will lead to disaster. And a young person shouldn’t be involved beyond a simple friendship with the opposite gender until that young person is ready to get married. Until that time, they should remain content and uninvolved with the opposite gender. No exceptions. It will only lead to hurt and/or premature relationships.

I am currently waiting on the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. At his appointed time, he will come and get me for the wedding. This is the last principle of betrothal relationships: the young lady waits patiently until her man comes and gets her! This is mirrored in Genesis  24. Rebekah was willing to go with Abrahams servant… “Enquire at her mouth…” She went, and was married to her Godly groom. Here are two wonderful stories of successful marriages in your Bible, and they provide a wonderful guide for us to follow.


“And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20